howies in London
Walking down Carnaby Street in London I was stopped by a shop
whose front window was spruiking the benefits of organic cotton.
Not one to miss a bit of sustainability disguised as urban hippie
style, I took a mosey around the shop and liked what I saw. Trying
on a T-shirt about how much better bikes are than cars, I had a
chance to read the howies (they always write it with a small 'h')
company manifesto on the change room wall. It's worth a few minutes
for the read.
As well as selling clothes, they had some neat collapsible water
bottles, environmentally friendly bike grease and a tap in the wall
for filling up your water bottle. Nice touch.
It's always good to see a brand going the sustainability angle,
even better when they explain it so well. What's more, it's
interesting to see so much more of this type of idealist company in
the UK than Australia. Pret-a-Porter is another noteable example.
None of their sandwiches have a use-by date because they make them
every morning and then give leftovers to the homeless. What's more,
they make a point of buying local ingredients with less 'food
miles' than imported ones. Both stories is clearly told on the
Wethinks that this tells a big story. You can imagine most
companies discarding such ideas with words such as 'nice to have
but what about cost cutting?'. What these kinds of companies have
realised is that taking a stand and (vocally) sticking to it is of
such huge brand value that it dwarfs any extra costs it might
incur. Both howies and Pret-a-Porter have built their brands on
being honest-to-goodness brands with integrity. It's not only given
them huge brand differentiation in two markets (clothing and
fast-food) that are oft considered bereft of morals, it's also made
them icons for people who care about the world, ie: everyone.
We look forward to more of this kind of
sustainability-makes-your-life-and-my-brand-better thinking in